If Roomba vacuums are going to feel like they're truly part of your connected home, they need to do more than dutifully clean your floors on a set schedule. Thankfully, iRobot is helping them do just that. It just added IFTTT "recipes" that tell Roomba robots when to clean or to interact with other devices. You can tell your robovac to start cleaning when you leave or stop when you get home, for starters. However, the cleverest tricks come when the robot interacts with the outside world. You can tweet to your Roomba to start a command, or have it post to Facebook or Twitter when it's done. You can even have it flash your Hue lights or play music (on Android devices) when it's finished, in case there's something you need to do immediately afterwards.
Other IFTTT recipes include cleaning before a calendar event (important for that big dinner party), pausing your Roomba during a call and notifying you when there are new iRobot actions and applets. The company is hinting at more in-depth actions, as well -- imagine your robot cleaning more frequently when the weather forecast mentions high pollen levels.
Between this and voice assistant support (Roombas can respond to both Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant), it's clear iRobot is feeling the heat from competitors that increasingly tout similar features. IFTTT isn't as mainstream as controlling a robot vacuum with an Echo speaker, but it gives power users a better reason to choose a Roomba over the alternatives.
- This article originally appeared on Engadget.